Purpose – This paper seeks to explore the processes by which the offshoring of technology development to India and China by Western and Japanese multinationals has evolved from the localization/simplification of technology for local markets to the development of advanced technology in India and China for global markets. Design/methodology/approach – Case studies were developed based on 190 interviews conducted in China, India and several other countries. Respondents included multinational home country and offshore managers, as well as local entrepreneurs. Findings – Rather than following carefully thought out corporate strategies, the offshoring of technology development by multinationals is more often incremental and driven by the ambitions and expectations of Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs and managers. Meanwhile “technology competition” policies proposed in the USA and elsewhere are not taking sufficient account of the processes by which technology development is being offshored. Originality/value – Techno‐nationalistic policies designed to allow one country to win a race with others in developing and monopolizing new technologies are increasingly dysfunctional. The identification of multinationals with “home countries” continues to weaken. At the same time, technologies and technology workers are more mobile than ever before. Better policies would allow nations to seek mutual benefit through today's more globally dispersed technology development capabilities. Multinational managers in our study were not sufficiently accounting for the costs of offshoring and outsourcing technology, nor were they giving much thought to the longer term implications of their diminishing capabilities to develop or even control the development technology. More thought should be given to what aspects of technology constitute “core competencies” and which provide sustainable competitive advantage in the emerging global environment.
Journal of Asia Business Studies – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 20, 2012
Keywords: Offshoring; Outsourcing; Technology development; Globalization; Multinational companies; Developing economies; India; China